Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Ready for An Uprising Rampage?



RAMPAGE
ACTION/SCI-FI
  
PLOT:    Three animals grow and become extremely aggressive because of a chemical by a major corporation.

                Davis Okoye (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) a primatologist (!) has a bond with an albino ape named George.  One night he stumbles and breathes in a gas that makes him incredible big and incredible hostile.  Davis must help his friend George and save a city.  Oh man, the story is hard to believe but the giant monster action is fantastic!!!  The rest of the cast is not too bad either with Naomie Harris (James Bond) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Walking Dead) who is very, very, very funny.  If you like Johnson, giant monster attacking cities and fighting each other-Go!  If not WAIT!

PACIFIC RIM 2: UPRISING
SCI-FI/ACTION
  
PLOT:  The sequel to Pacific Rim.

                It took five years for Hollywood to continue the story of Jaegers (hunters in German) giant mecha-robots to defeat giant monsters from the sea. John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) is Jake Pentecost, the son of (Stacker Pentecost, Idris Elba) from the last movie.  He is not like his dad, he is reckless but Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi from the last movie) brings him back to train cadets to control the mecha-machines.  Story is not my concern but the action is!  It is rock ‘em sock ‘em 250 feet robots attack big monsters.  If you didn’t like the first one you will not like this but if you did you are in for a treat!  There is action and minor spoiler:  None of the robots fight in the rain or at night!

A WRINKLE IN TIME
FANTASY/ADVENTURE

PLOT:    Based on the 1962 novel by Madeleine L’ Engle.

                Meg (Storm Reid) and her younger brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) miss their father (Chris Pine) a scientist who discovers a new way to see the universe and he hasn’t been seen in four years. They go on a mission to find their father. Man, this movie has great special effects and the bottom line love for family but it was confusing to me. One of the reasons why it doesn’t grab you is that they took out the religious overtones in the book. The novel was difficult to make into film but director Ava DuVenay did her best.  If you like the book and Oprah Winfrey (who looks very amazing in her outfits) you should see it, if not wait.

READY PLAYER ONE
ACTION/SCI-FI
  
PLOT:  When an inventor of a virtual reality dies he tells the gamers if they can find the Easter Egg they will be rich.

                In 2045 the world is much worse than it is now but their only release is going to the Oasis, a virtual reality game.  The creator passes away but if he can find the three keys to find the Easter Egg the person will have enormous wealth.  If you love video games and pop culture you will enjoy this movie.  You think you can’t follow it but you can and it is visually stunning.  Younger people will love it even more!  Director Steven Spielberg went back to what he does best--focusing on what it is like to be young and have fun.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Spring Death Films



RED SPARROW
THRILLER

PLOT:    Young woman is forced to become a spy.

                Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence, X-Men, Hunger Games franchise) is a ballerina who has to take care of her sick mom.  After a planned accident she can’t dance anymore so of all people her uncle recruits her to become a seductive spy.  The training sequences are tough to watch.  If Hollywood makes Black Widow movie they will clean it up.  It is not Atomic Blonde either.  Not much action but lots of deception like in the real spy world.  Lawrence is brave to do some of stuff she did and she has a passable Russian accent.  It is not making money, not because of star power, but it is grim and not for kids.

DEATH WISH
ACTION

PLOT:    Remake of 1974 classic with Charles Bronson.

                Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis) is a trauma surgeon and has a lovely wife, Lucy (Elisabeth Shue) a cute daughter Jordon (Camila Morrone) who is going to college when burglars rob their house and kills his wife and his daughter in a coma.  He can’t sleep, goes to therapy but that is not working.  What does work he shoots a carjacker.  He starts shooting criminals while finding out who killed his wife for the police are not doing anything.  The film is updated but it still asks the question:  Who you kill someone who killed a member of your family?  Downbeat as it sounds there are comic moments in the film.  Minor spoilers:  Some kills you don’t see coming.  If you love action and Bruce Willis you will enjoy this.

TOMB RAIDER
ACTION/ADVENTURE

PLOT:    Reboot of Lara Croft


                Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander Jason Borne, Ex Machina) is aggressive losing her dad as he searched for a grave that if open would destroy all mankind.  She decides to find this grave and the journey begins.  Vikander put on muscle to her lithe frame to do those action sequences and she is good.  The film is grittier than the one with talented Angelina Jolie.  She is not as pretty as Jolie but damn she is fierce!  It is a good popcorn movie.

Friday, March 9, 2018

2018 Post Oscar Wrap Up



DARKEST HOUR
BIOGRAPHY

PLOT:  True story of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

                Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) is the Prime Minister at the worst time in England.  He must decide to surrender to the Germans lead by Hitler or continue to fight.  The cast is brilliant and Oldman is fantastic as Churchill.  He is funny, grumpy, intelligent and unsure what to do in such a desperate time.  Even if you don’t know history you will know an amazing performance by Oldman who must be nominated for an Oscar.

NOMINATED FOR: BEST ACTOR: GARY OLDMAN

ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ.
DRAMA

PLOT:  Defense attorney for the poor wants a better life.

                Roman J. Israel Esq. (Denzel Washington) is an outspoken, smart lawyer but he stayed in the background while his partner got clients.  He becomes ill and he tries to make it on his own but doesn’t succeed.  He gets to work at a very exclusive law firm and feel out of place for he doesn’t dress the part.  He is tired of doing the right thing so he does a very bad thing.  He becomes rich but his conscience bothers him with tragic consequences.  This is a character study about a man who does believe justice but justice doesn’t make you money.  Washington is as great as always and the cast which includes Colin Farrell and Carmen Ejogo.

NOMINATED FOR: BEST ACTOR: DENZEL WASHINGTON

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING MISSOURI
DRAMA

PLOT:  Angry mother wants the police to solve her daughter’s murder.

                Mildred (Frances McDormand) is upset mother and she buys three billboards to solve her daughter’s rape and murder.  The small town is turns against her even worst when the sheriff commits suicide thinking it is because of the case.  Oh man, this film is very different from other movies of moms wanting to find their child’s killer.  It feels like a sick comedy but when it becomes dramatic it is.  McDormand is not your typing grieving mother!  She is feisty, vengeful and hostile and yet you feel her ongoing frustration.  Dixon (Sam Rockwell, the darling of independent movies and in Iron Man 2) is amazing as a racist cop who loses his job and tries to redeem himself in a strange way.

NOMINATED FOR: BEST ACTRESS FRANCES MCDORMAND
NOMINATED FOR BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:  SAM ROCKWELL, WOODY HARRELSON

DUNKIRK
HISTORY/DRAMA

PLOT:    World War 2 England and French soldiers were cut off from help and surrounded by Germans in Dunkirk, France.

                Usually I review movies that were in the theater but I doing something different this year.  There is a saying “war is hell.” This movie proves it!  Military men hungry searching for food, water and shelter and they can be killed at any moment!  There was another Dunkirk movie in 1958 but this was directed by Christopher Nolan who made Batman the Dark Knight so you know what to expect:  a very good movie!  It shows the best and worst of soldiers during May 26 –June 4.  My gripe is it is too beautiful for a war movie.  War is not pretty at all-even for the right reasons.


NONMIATED FOR: BEST PICTURE, BEST DIRECTOR 


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Strong Shades of Panther



FIFTY SHADES FREED
EROTIC DRAMA

PLOT:    The final installment of the very popular franchise.

                Christian Grey (Jamie Dorman) and Anastasia Steel (Dakota Johnson) are now married and like married couples no matter how rich have problems.  She loves him but wants to be independent and he just wants to dominate her.  Things get even worse when she finds out she is pregnant and he doesn’t want children.  Jack Hyde wants vengeance on the couple and he does get it.  It’s a Lifetime movie with a lot more nudity and cursing.  It is a girls night out movie.  Johnson looks dazzling and so does Dorman.  The entire cast is very attractive along with the soundtrack.  Is mommy porn over?  Don’t count on it.  They didn’t split the last book into two movies (thank goodness) but greedy Hollywood could make a prequel about Christian meeting Elena Lincoln maybe that film would sizzle.

BLACK PANTHER
ACTION/SCI-FI

PLOT:    T’Challa now king of Wakanda must restore order.

                T’Challa(Chadwick Boseman, Marshall, Get On Up) must be King of Wakanda after the death of his father; deal with greedy arms dealers who want the country’s unique metal and fight a foe from his past Erik Killmonger (Michael P. Jordan Creed, Fantastic Four).  OMG is this movie good!  The fight scenes with Black Panther are great and his female fighters even better!  For many people the film is just another Marvel superhero movie but to African Americans it is spectacular for it shows the beauty and technology of an African country.  It shows black people-mostly dark skinned people who are heroic, intelligent and compassionate which you don’t see very much anywhere.  Worth watching.

12 STRONG
WAR DRAMA

PLOT:    The true story of the first Special Forces to attack the Taliban.


                Captain Mitch Nelson (Chris Hemsworth, Thor) and his men must go to Afghanistan after 9/11 and needs the help of Afghan warlord to defeat the Taliban.  War is hell and shows in this movie.  It is very realistic with bodies of men, women and children being gun down without warning.  As dramatic and tragic as it is it does have humor.  The acting very good especially by Hemsworth and the rest of the cast.  Hemsworth actor has done most every genre except romantic comedy which I hope you does.


Monday, February 5, 2018

Commuters and Marys and Bears, Oh My



PROUD MARY
ACTION
  
PLOT:    Mary is an assassin who gets a conscience.

                Mary (Taraji P. Henson, Empire) is a lovely black hit woman who is haunted by a “target” she killed and the result a kid is hustling on the street.  The movie isn’t original, okay but Henson is great as a hit woman trying to get out of the business and become a guardian to young boy.  It sounds more like 1980’s Gloria with Gena Rowlands or the updated 1999 version with Sharon Stone. It is actually a B-movie and blaxpotiation film as well with the soulful soundtrack.  The only reason you should go is because of Henson if not wait for video.
  
PADDINGTON 2
COMEDY/ FANTASY

PLOT:    The further adventures of the cute, clumsy well-mannered bear.

                Paddington is now with the Brown family who love him dearly as well as the community he lives in.  He wants to give a gift to his Aunt Lucy, a pop-up book of England so he does odd jobs to do so.  The pop-up book is more than just a book-it’s a map to find a treasure chest and the self-absorbed actor Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant) wants to have it.  It is a wild, wonderful adventure.  If you enjoyed Paddington then you will LOVE Paddington 2.

THE COMMUTER
ACTION/THRILLER

PLOT:    Ordinary guy doesn’t have a typical train ride.

                Michael MacCauley (Liam Neeson) a regular man who uses the train to go to work and one day he loses his job and gets a strange offer from a mysterious woman and the terror begins.  It is like the movie Non-Stop on the train.  You learn more and more about MacCauley to find out he is definitely not a normal man.  This film is for Liam Neeson fans for he is intense, clever and smart.